"I am adamantly opposed to labeling children, or even allowing them to label themselves, with words that imply the informed selection of a complex worldview....Once a label is attached, thinking is necessarily colored and shaped by that label. I don’t want my kids to have to think their way out from under a presumptive claim placed on them by one worldview or another."
This attitude is one that I've run across before. The playwright Julie Pascal wrote an article for The Jewish Chronicle last spring where she called religion a form of child abuse:
"Perhaps organised religion should carry a health warning and only be made available at 18 with the right to vote. Isn’t it child abuse to imprint religion and identity on an infant? In our Western democracies, we say we believe in the freedom of the individual to make their own life choices but we allow parents to enforce their own dogma on their offspring. Why not teach children about all religions, as well as secularism and humanism, and let them decide how they wish to identify when they become adults? The 1989 UNICEF Convention on the Rights of the Child expressed the importance of 'respect for the views of the child', but which son or daughter is ever consulted about which religion they wish to follow? You get what your parents give you."
The question I have for Dale, Ms. Pascal, et. al. is whether they feel the same way about parents who are vegans for ethical reasons raising their children as vegans. Isn't that "enforcing their own dogma on their offspring" too? Would they truly advocate forcing vegans to feed their children animal products against the parents' deeply held ethical beliefs? Or would they be okay with the argument that the children will be perfectly free to eat animal products once they grow up should they choose to but until such time the parents have the right to raise their offspring in accordance with their values?
I suspect that the same atheists/agnostics who are so vehemently against religious believers "imposing" their family's faith on their offspring would be perfectly fine with vegans raising their kids as vegans. Which just goes to show that their criticism isn't really about "respecting the views of the child" but really about hostility to organized religion.